1. God is who He says He is
2. God can do what He says He can do
3. I am who God says I am
4. I can do all things through Christ
5. God's word is alive and active in me.
These are to be followed with, "I'm believing God." ("Because faith is always an exercise of the will, not the emotions.")
The second step she suggests in "increasing your level of personal sanctification in a noticeable way over the designated length of time," is to choose something to give up and wear a blue cord or bracelet around your wrist to remind you of your agreement with God. I don't remember what I chose to give up the first time around, and though I'm not reading this book as quickly (code word for consistently) this time, my choice is to serve my parents at least once a day. I can be really selfish with my time and I waste it 90% anyway so I figured serving was a way to make better use of it as well as working on not being so selfish.
The third step is to journal "Godstops." This refers to "small and large ways you see God at work.... the goal is to notice a God who is willingly, lovingly, and always at work in your life." Beth says that in the Bible God was saying to the Israelites, "If you set yourself apart to Me, I will distinguish Myself to you in ways more wonderful and miraculous than you have ever imagined."
She ends the chapter by saying: "Beloved, not only are these faith exercises doable the attentiveness they require will affect an amazing renewal of the mind, What have you got to lose besides a load of defeat and doubt?
'Did God really say...?'
If God said it, I want to believe it. If God gives it, I want to receive it. I f God shows it, I want to perceive it. If Satan stole it, I want to retrieve it."
I don't know about you but Satan has stolen a lot from me so whether you're exploring what it is to know God or if you've grown up in a Christian home, keep reading, keep praying, keep believing that God is on your side even if it doesn't look the way you want it to.
Chapter 4: Believing God is who He says He is
I,for one, have struggled the least with statement 1 of all the 5. I have had moments where I doubt God is who He says is, but they've always been moments. I've never really thought that God doesn't exist or that He isn't who He says He is. I believe Him when He said to Moses, "I Am who I Am." I believe He's a personal God and that He made me in my mother's womb as is spoken of in Psalms. Beth makes the point that "He's either everything He says He is or He's a liar and unworthy of any faith at all. Thankfully, Scripture tells us that no deceit can be found in him." So what every person has to decide for themselves is if they believe God is who He says He is. Here I must add that I know there are people who do believe in God but think He is untrustworthy because painful events have occurred in their lives and He is to blame. I wonder how God feels about this, it must make Him sad on some level, to have one of His kids decide He has removed His love from them whenever pain comes into their lives. In my study of "Experiencing God," the author said that whenever these moments happen in His life He compares them to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Friends, God loves us. He never said we wouldn't lose friendships, or lose loved-ones to death. But He did say He'd always be with us and Paul says He works everything out for good for those who love Him. I suggest that we focus our time on loving Him and trusting Him over focusing on our pain, (which I am the Queen of not doing btw). "Over and over in Scripture, when God was about to move in the lives of His people or instruct them to reposition. He began with a reminder of who He was.... God knew that the most powerful driving force the children of Israel would have pressing them toward their earthly destiny was their certainty that the One who went before them was who He said He was."
The reminder Beth gives soon after is like a punch in the gut for me at this point in my life. "In other words, you and I have got to know, not just hope or think, that the One who cut covenant with us through the torn flesh of Jesus Christ is the same One who sits upon the universe's throne, having spoken the worlds into existence." I realize after reading this that I do in fact, struggle more often than I thought with believing that God is who He says He is. These are the moments I doubt I'm a Christian and I'm better off keeping my mouth shut. But this is where "I am who God says I am," needs to be remembered. God says I am His daughter. Jesus says I am His. Once we accept Jesus as God's son and the only way to God, He never says, "You are mine, only if..." or "You are mine until..." Resting in that brings peace to my worry.
Next, Beth addresses non-believers (which here means a those who do not believe in a personal God who created us) opinions of who they say is God, pointing out that Jesus, in Matt. 16:3 asked who people say the Son of Man is because, "Christ knew the potential power of popular opinion. As we consider the plausibility of our thumb principal- God is who He says He is- let's ask ourselves who the people around us say He is. The opinions of our culture span the entire spectrum from the belief that God does not exist all the way to the belief that God is who an inspired text says He is."
Let's pause and ask ourselves how today's pop culture affects who we say Christ is. I know I've felt like I've had to go on the defensive for putting my faith in Jesus' claim that He is the Son of God and no one can get to the Father but through Him. Believers in these claims have been persecuted for these words ever since he spoke them. I've accepted that Faith often times equals trusting what God says over what the world says is evidence against Jesus. Beth agrees.
"In my life experience the most dangerously influential opinions have been those held by intellectuals and scholars who profess Christianity but deny the veracity and present power of the Bible. To many, the Godhead exists, but they are not exactly who Scripture says they are. Neither do they do (or still do) what Scripture says they can do. The obvious brilliance of these scholars are supported by a convincing list of degrees tempts those who wanted to believe God's Word to feel gullible and ignorant. The unspoken indictment is, 'How could you be stupid enough to believe that?' Translation: 'Did God really say?' Like Eve, we want to feel smart, so we end up making the stupidest decision of our lives. Nothing is more ignorant than choosing man's intelligence over God's."
Even scarier is what Beth refers to as "cut-and-paste Christianity." "Equally frightening is the potential for more humanly reasonable theologies to soothe and satisfy the follower's need to believe in a god, but the lesser god they're buying is not the God of Scripture. I don't think the biggest threat to our theology is humanism or the host of world religions... If a man places his faith in a god he has recreated in his own image, has he placed his faith in God at all? And if not, how can such a man be saved?"
I have seen and heard Christians entering this territory and I can see why. I also struggle with what Beth said above. "On the other hand, a man or woman can believe enough of Scripture to accept Christ as Savior but refuse to accept who He additionally says He is." (scripture given in support that Beth lists are: Gen. 15:7; Gen. 17:1-2; Exod 3:6-8; Exod. 3:14; and Exod. 6:6-8) Any time I'm tempted to think "Did God really mean..." or "Is God really..." I remind myself that this is where danger encroaches on my faith. Unless I do believe the Bible and place my faith in the Word - my belief system will become one I've created rather than the faith God has revealed to me through His Word. In thinking this through, I've discovered I'd rather fight with God under the assumption He is who He says He is over stumbling around in the dark on my own trying to fit Him into what I can explain or what makes sense to me.
Beth acknowledges that people we've seen as teachers or intellects can greatly mess with our faith, but reminds us that "faith unchallenged ordinarily means unchanged." This encourages me to believe that God is radically working in my life to lead me to a better understanding of His character and His plan for my life. It always does me good to remember that, no matter my circumstances: seeking Him in ALL things is the Christ-Followers instruction in all phases of life. It is rarely easy to implement what I just mentioned in the last sentence, but I strongly believe the Holy Spirit is fighting for me during this dark and seemingly hopeless time. He has been faithful to reveal Truth to me even when I'm feeling sorry for myself. I'm learning to compare my loss and pain to what Jesus did for me on the cross, I've got a sneaking suspicion that this will someday soon transfer into full-time thinking rather than every-now-and-then revelations.